A few months ago, I started to scan in all of our missionary photos. It brought back so many memories of amazing people, sights, sounds, smells, and culture. I abhor Putin’s recklessness. It is despairing that the world largely ignores his actions of death and destruction as Putin marches around with impunity. Nevertheless, it is a special place for me and Melissa. In fact, our original plan was to return to Ukraine this last autumn, but due to the geopolitical landscape, we opted for France and Spain.

I love this photo of Melissa. It is so rich with irony. It is true, the Ukrainian batone (bread load) is indeed dietary bliss. Their bread making skills are heavenly. There was a time on my mission when my diet consisted of Fruchtegut (yogurt), batons, and pineapple juice. If only I could eat that way again. Of course, back then we walked everywhere we went (I wish we had pedometers back then so we could calculate the daily distance).

About a month ago I got together with my missionary trainer, Elder Stowers. Andy Wimmer joined us for pizza in Draper as we all reconnected and reminisced on our time in Ukraine. The above photo was taken in Kiev, Pechersky (right by the Arsenalna metro station). We spent so many hours walking these streets and parks trying to talk with people about our message. I can remember vividly when Stowers asked me to approach my first person and launch a conversation about faith in Russian.